Thanks to strict termination customs in Japan, some workers have avoided firing by staying in job purgatory at their companies — banished to "chasing-out rooms" to surf the web and read the newspaper.

The New York Times' Hiroko Tabuchi reported last month on the trend in Japan, where lifetime positions are the expectation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japanese firms hope to reverse the social taboo against massive layoffs in order to revitalize the economy.

But many employees are resistant. From the Times:

Sony, Mr. Tani’s employer of 32 years, consigned him to this room because they can’t get rid of him. Sony had eliminated his position at the Sony Sendai Technology Center, which in better times produced magnetic tapes for videos and cassettes. But Mr. Tani, 51, refused to take an early retirement offer from Sony in late 2010 — his prerogative under Japanese labor law.

So there he sits in what is called the “chasing-out room.” He spends his days there, with about 40 other holdouts.

“I won’t leave,” Mr. Tani said. “Companies aren’t supposed to act this way. It’s inhumane.”

That's somewhat of a contrast from the United States, where firings are so intrinsic to American culture that the art of termination was made into a George Clooney movie.

Read the full report at the New York Times>

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